Tough choices led to a fulfilling summer at the Indianapolis Recorder

by Arriel Vinson

Junior, Arriel Vinson, says that working in breaking news for the first time changed her perspective on journalism.

I never thought an informational interview would turn into me applying for an internship.

I had been searching for a summer internship since the first semester of my sophomore year, and I honestly had no clue where to start. I knew I wanted to be in Indianapolis, or not too far from it, but that was about it. I asked Marcia Debnam, our school career service advisor, for help and we found one to apply for.

An assignment for her J261 class required us to connect with a media outlet we would like to work for, and interview them about the field, the culture of their workplace and more. I chose the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper, the only African-American weekly newspaper in Indianapolis (and probably Indiana).

This turned into finding out that they were looking for summer interns. I went through an interview process and got the internship, while turning down a paid internship not too far from Indianapolis. The other internship was a daily, which possibly would have enabled me to write more.  At first, I wondered if this was the right decision for me.

Honestly, I don’t regret my decision at all. Not only was I writing two (or more) stories a week for the print/online edition of the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper, but I was also surrounded by people just Indianapolis-Recorder-logolike me. They gave professional advice and life advice, and helped me better my skills. I never felt like I was thrown into something I didn’t know how to do, and they always made sure to encourage me while also giving constructive criticism.

At first, I had a hard time adjusting. I felt like I couldn’t find any good ideas or people who fit the subject matter. I wasn’t used to writing about education, religion and business; I was used to writing about fun events, new clubs and the black community at IU. Thankfully, being out of my comfort zone taught me so much more about the journalism field than I knew before.

The Recorder is a small newspaper, but it made me value the internship much more. I got to know everyone at the Recorder, and they were able to focus on my writing development. There were three interns, and I can say we all learned a lot together.

At the end of our internship, because they love us and will miss us so much, we had a Summer Intern Celebration (formerly the Journalism Jamboree, my idea). They bought pizza, cupcakes and drinks, and us interns asked journalism questions, such as the starting pay for a journalist, how to network and more. Not only was I well-fed, but I was able to learn even more about the journalism industry.

My 11th week here is my last, and I can’t believe it’s coming to an end. However, I am eager for my next journalism experience.


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